MHG63102 - Gardens and policies - Culloden House


The original extent of the gardens and policies around Culloden House.

Type and Period (2)

  • GARDEN (18th Century - 1701 AD to 1800 AD)
  • POLICIES (18th Century - 1701 AD to 1800 AD)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

The C18 extent of the gardens and policies around Culloden House, as originally laid out by Duncan Forbes probably in the early C18 and following reported damage and 'ransacking' of the house and grounds during the first Jacobite uprising of 1688-9 .

The grounds, gardens and policies around Culloden House are shown on Roy's Military Map. <1>

In 2018, new evidence regarding surviving elements of the C18 designed landscape around Culloden House was discovered by Historic Environment Scotland during routine work as part of their statutory role to compile and maintain the inventory of historic battlefields. This related specifically to 'Culloden Parks' as shown on contemporary and later depictions of the Battle of Culloden.

During the final Jacobite Rising in 1745-6, the house and estate played a direct role in the conflict. Culloden House was used as a headquarters by Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Jacobite commanders in the days leading up to the battle. The southern end of the Culloden Parks wall was used by the Jacobites as their left flank (the northern end of their line) when they deployed for the battle. This direct link with the Jacobite deployment is significant as, in conjunction with the use of the Culwhiniac enclosure to anchor the right flank (the southern end of the line) these two enclosures provide evidence for the precise location of the Jacobite deployment before the battle.

Subsequent research including documentary and cartographic sources as well as digital sources such as GIS and LiDAR data was carried out. Site visits to verify the results of the desk-based analysis and research were undertaken in February and July 2019, and again in October 2020. It has become clear that the previously suspected location of Culloden Parks placed it too far to the east in the landscape and that a further realignment of the historic landscape and the battlefield would be necessary. <2>

Several maps, mainly dating to the time around the Battle of Culloden, show the grounds and policies around the house but most do not agree with Roy's depiction of the northernmost end. Roy shows a larger area around the house, which he also sites centrally within an open area. This is at odds with other depictions and also with a drawing of the pre-battle Culloden House (re-drawn from an earlier original) which show the house within a much smaller enclosed area at the end of, and much closer to, the driveway. As such, it is difficult to accurately depict the northern end of the policies around the house as several subsequent phases of landscaping have taken place. Munro in <2> opts to include a larger area which would extend to the modern boundary at 'Caulfield Road' and which appears to be based on Roy's depiction. However, there is an argument to be made for a smaller area, as shown on the plan of the Battle of Culloden by Thomas Sandby which would bring the original area closer to the area around the house and encompassing what later became the walled garden to the northwest of the house. The siting of the modern house itself also presents a problem when compared with, for example, Sandby's plan as the modern house is supposed to reuse parts of the cellars of the original house. Sandby's plan would place the house further to the southwest, closer to the end of the modern driveway and also closer to the northernmost boundary of the 'Culloden Parks' enclosures. The current GIS spatial extent takes in the larger area as favoured by Munro, but further research, including fieldwork, needs to be carried out [IS-L 06/02/2024].

Sources/Archives (2)



Grid reference Centred NH 7213 4574 (1800m by 2402m) (2 map features)
Map sheet NH74NW
Geographical Area INVERNESS

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Related Investigations/Events (1)

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